The small type: Since 1905, the Columbia eatery has actually offered Spanish and Cuban-inspired meals and drinks that signify a long-standing family history. Based by a Cuban immigrant in Tampa, the Columbia remains a regional favored due to its conventional foods and friendly solution. Throughout the years, folks from all over the globe attended into the attractive restaurant to celebrate engagecraigslist dating men seeking ments, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, and various other monumental moments. Nowadays, the 4th and fifth generations with the household is the owner of and runs 13 various restaurants throughout Fl. If you’re searching for great dinner with a good conventional family experience, you can easily reserve a table from inside the stunning and intimate eating areas on the Columbia Restaurant.


Over the past 30 years, my family’s preferred destination was an oceanfront resort in Sand Key, Florida. We have eliminated indeed there over several times to construct mud castles, place dolphins, and eat tasty meals on patios ignoring the gulf.

We now have thoroughly explored the city’s restaurant option, looking from most useful local bones around, however it only therefore occurs that the one restaurant we all enjoy most is within strolling distance in our lodge. The Columbia Restaurant’s white linen tablecloths, conscious solution, and mouth-watering meals allow our go-to area for dinner.

When we had been kids, my moms and dads would purchase us a cheese pizza even though they checked out this passionate Spanish bistro alone; but we now enjoy tapas and wine just as much while they would, therefore we’ve begun crashing their night out — occasionally getting along dates of our own very own.

Since 1905, the Columbia Restaurant features wowed patrons with Spanish and Cuban meals and an old-world ambiance. Though itis the oldest bistro in Florida, the company still is run by the descendants associated with initial president. Every object throughout the selection has actually a story behind it, and many associated with the dishes currently transmitted from one generation on the Hernandez Gonzmart family to another. Household heritage is a huge part of the Columbia’s diet plan, record, and approach to service.

“The staff is a little like family,” stated Michael Kilgore, the Chief advertising Officer your Columbia. “a number of our workers stay for 20 or 30 years. The situations we like about our very own party is actually the length of time they stick with all of us. They show up here in order to find property.”

You can enjoy this comfy and pleasant environment in your subsequent night out by visiting any of the Columbia’s seven various restaurants. The Columbia Restaurant presently serves friends in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater seashore, and party. Whether you’re drinking drink on a picturesque balcony or watching flamenco dancers light up the level even though you take in tapas, you’re certain to have a memorable night from the Columbia.

In 1905, a Cuban Immigrant Ran a Saloon That Became a Sensation

The Columbia eatery can locate their history to Dec. 17, 1903 — the exact same day the Wright brothers effectively tried society’s very first plane. That has been whenever a Cuban immigrant named Casimiro Hernandez Sr. started operating a saloon for an area preparing business in Tampa’s Ybor City.

In 1905, the industrious business owner turned the saloon into popular 60-seat cafe recognized for its real Cuban coffee and sandwiches. After his achievements, Casimiro bought a restaurant nearby and switched it into a striking kitchen. In 1930, their child got over ownership and process of flourishing restaurant.

While in the Great Depression, his child Casimiro Jr. built initial air-conditioned living area in Tampa. The guy hoped their trendy appearance and elevated dance floor would draw people to the cafe that assist all of them forget their particular fears for a night. The Don Quixote place was actually a success, as well as the Columbia could keep the doors available while many various other businesses folded.

In 1953, Casimiro Jr. passed the Columbia to their only kid, Adela Hernandez Gonzmart, an experienced musician that has fulfilled the woman husband, Cesar Gonzmart, at the Tampa cafe. This theatrical pair delivered entertainment and artistry toward Columbia, developing a showroom that managed many talented Latin performers and performers. Under Adela and Cesar’s leadership, the Columbia expanded to Sarasota and various other locations in Florida.

Today, among Adela and Cesar’s two sons has had the reins and held their family members’ business heading. Richard Gonzmart has-been functioning at their family’s restaurants since he had been 12 years old, therefore they are closely knowledgeable about their atmosphere and history. Richard may actually point to the dining table within Columbia Restaurant where the guy and his awesome girlfriend had their particular basic big date a lot more than 43 years ago.

“there are many love here, and we also have the tale,” said Michael. “under 15 restaurants in america tend to be family-owned and most 100 years outdated, so we’re in pretty elite business.”

Fl’s earliest restaurant has a proud and enduring record grounded on meals, family, and fun. Michael informed you the 5th generation associated with the founding family members is now being groomed to dominate someday. Richard’s daughters and nephew have chosen to take in active administration roles at the restaurants and are generally willing to keep carefully the family tradition choosing additional years to come.

The Columbia might acknowledged with many associated with greatest honors into the bistro industry, such as induction into country’s eatery News’ “Fine eating Hall of Fame,” received the “Distinguished Restaurants of America (SiRoNA) honor of quality,” Fl Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of popularity,” and Wine Spectator’s “better of honor of quality.”

Enjoy In! A Delectable Menu of Sharable Tapas & Indulgent Desserts

The Columbia eatery sets a lavish table and gives a wonderful getting away from everyday life. It seduces the sensory faculties as soon as you walk in the doorways. You are enclosed by greenery, water fountains, and artwork once the sounds of laughter as well as the smells of new seafood meals waft through the atmosphere. Before my personal purchase even gets to me personally, my personal lips is obviously watering with anticipation. Fortunately, each guest gets his or her very own newly made loaf of Cuban breads, so I have actually one thing to meet my taste buds while we wait.

The 14-page eating plan is filled with great meals but also provides easy dialogue starters for daters only learning the other person. Each entrée, appetizer, and dessert has an enticing information also fascinating background info. Such as, the bistro’s coconut frozen dessert had been a favorite of frozen dessert entrepreneur Gustavo Hernandez, the next child associated with original Columbia creator, now this nice dish is actually supported within his respect.

From veggie paella (Spanish grain blended with satisfying vegetables) on shrimp supreme (shrimp wrapped in wafer-thin bacon), the meals from the Columbia are bursting with taste. The shareable plates, called tapas, make this bistro well suited for couples on a romantic date since you may come better with each other by revealing little dishes of empanadas, sliced chorizo, croquetas, or stuffed peppers. It’s easy to create a budget-friendly meal by buying some of these appetizers with each other — just remember to save space for treat!

The Très Amigos churros was a fantastic selection for partners because they’re tactile, nice, and merely a tiny bit messy. You can drop the piping-hot churros in chocolate, caramel, or guava sauce so there’s something for all. In addition, Columbia’s trademark White Chocolate Bread Pudding is an indulgent dessert ideal for splitting with a romantic date who’s a taste for white chocolate and rum sauce.

In 2017, the Marriott Traveler blog named the Columbia Restaurant among St. Augustine’s top date-night areas, motivating couples to “start out with Columbia’s well-known 1905 Salad, assembled table-side with much panache, right after which discuss a massive platter of the Paella a la Valenciana, full of shellfish, aromatic rice, and chorizo.”

Your own intimate night will be all the greater number of pleasurable any time you combine with your food a glass of the Melanie Chardonnay, a wealthy drink known as after Melanie Gonzmart, Richard’s high-school sweetheart and partner.

Plus, at Columbia Restaurant, the sangria is always to die for. Severely, it comes by the cup you could in addition divide a pitcher of white or purple sangria with a date to enhance your own dinner knowledge. Amply huge pieces of good fresh fruit drift from inside the drink and infuse it with rich flavors. Whether you are buying this traditional sangria or the bistro’s family wines, the high-caliber drinks you should never disappoint.

Michael told us the group can make an effort to provide inexpensive yet quality wines to whet guests’ appetites. “the wine selection must certanly be perfectly designed for the meal we serve and your cost,” he said.

Many Couples & Families have actually Shared particular Moments Here

When In my opinion of Columbia, In my opinion for the night we made a decision to have treat for supper, and my moms and dads ordered churros, key lime pie, mango mousse meal, white candy bread dessert, and five spoons. I believe of my twin-brother trying grouper for the first time on all of our 20th birthday and saying excitedly, “get my personal photo” because he desired to show their girlfriend (who’s now his girlfriend) that he liked taking fish approximately she performed.

In a lot of steps, the Columbia feels as though our very own location, but my children isn’t the only real family having produced thoughts only at that restaurant and its six sister areas across Florida. Men and women started to the cafe anyway stages of life given that it supplies a unique environment that sets really with any function.

Notoriously, Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio had been regular friends of Columbia during the early 1950s. The Columbia employees settled tribute into the couple while the loving memories they shared at restaurant by naming a dish after them. The Marilyn & Joe “Salteado” — a sautéed mixture of tenderloin recommendations, boneless chicken, shrimp, and pork — is a delicious indication with the very long reputation for love from inside the Columbia’s dining areas.

Whether you’re happening an initial big date or remembering a marriage anniversary, you will discover intimacy and love flourish in the comfortable candlelight of the Columbia Restaurant.

“It is one of our targets,” Michael mentioned, “to possess individuals feel as if the Columbia is the perfect place to get to celebrate life’s goals.”

The Columbia Restaurant has group Values into the Table

The Columbia eatery charms daters with authentic dishes, divine atmospheres, and personable service. The machines, at the least at our Columbia in Sand Key, pay attention to their particular guests as they are rapid to say “Welcome straight back” to dedicated consumers whom, like my family, end up returning to the classy eating areas repeatedly.

This long-standing eating establishment provides expanded and altered through the many years, it has not forgotten about the century-long family members sources. Richard provides challenging plans to serve diners and daters throughout Fl from inside the years to come. “All of our manager doesn’t rest,” Michael mentioned with fun. “he is usually thinking up something new.”

The Columbia team intentions to open at the very least two new restaurants inside the coming years. One will end up being easily positioned correct down the street from the initial Columbia in Tampa. Casa Santo Stefano, set to open up in fall 2018, will probably pay honor to a little village in Sicily where a lot of Tampa’s Sicilian immigrants arrived from — the real menu is designed to bring these family members a tasty note of home.

Enduring authority and quality flavors make the Columbia eatery and all the brother restaurants undoubtedly remarkable spots in which singles and couples can spend an evening together with those they like most readily useful.